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Paynesville Press - November 24, 2004

Community choir travels to Iowa for musical festival

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The Directors, a Paynesville choral group, recently took their music on the road, participating in a choral festival in Iowa.

directors On Saturday, Oct. 30, the Directors joined choirs from six churches at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Grafton, Iowa, to perform choral music in the tradition of the great Lutheran college choirs of the past, according to director Dave Stumo, who helped organize the festival.

The Directors, a local choir group, performed at a choral music festival in Grafton, Iowa, in October. Under the direction of Dave Sumo, the group joined choirs from Grafton-area churches to form a mass choir.

In addition to performing several songs as the Directors, members of the group - Allen Anderson, Sherry Ask, Sue Brauchler, Steve Brown, Don Demarson, Jim Elseth, Lindsay Hull, Dorothy Martinson, Luke and Laura Martinson, Steve and Marie St. Marie, Dave Moline, Faye Paster, organist Maurine Pederson, Clarice Stumo, Carolyn Swyter, and Karen Theel - joined the Grafton-area choirs to form a mass choir under the direction of Dave Stumo. This was a challange for all of the groups, since they never actually met until the day of the performance.

Stumo went to Iowa before the concert to rehearse with the church choirs there, and the Directors rehearsed at home. The groups sang together for the first time on the morning of the concert, said Stumo, and the result was wonderful. The groups worked very well together, he added. The mass choir gave a full concert on Saturday evening and performed for the church's Sunday worship service.

A retired high school music teacher and choir director, Stumo was greatly influenced by 19th-Century choral music performed in the past by choirs at Lutheran colleges, directed by men like Melius Christiansen, Olaf Christiansen, Leland Staeren, and Rene Clausen. After a discussion with his brother, Stumo thought the festival in his hometown would be a good way to help keep his favorite music alive, he said.

The Directors formed about four years ago as a men's vocal group. The ensemble sang at community events and local churches until they needed to add women's voices for a performance about two years ago. Now the group is made up of men and women from throughout the Paynesville Area with a broad range of musical experience, said Stumo. The group has been busy lately, having just completed the Iowa concerts as well as a benefit concert, in addition to their usual performances. Whether the group will perform more concerts on the road is unknown, said Stumo, but he was glad for the opportunity, especially since everyone in the group had a wonderful time, he added.

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